gkBRAND Recommendations: Social Media

There is much confusion over the new king of the Internet, no – not images of Britney Spears – the reigning king is Social Media Marketing. You may ask, “What exactly is Social Media Marketing? How does a business or individual utilize this phenomenon?’” To gain a deeper understanding, you might reference The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Or, to save you time, gkBRAND will summarize it for you. It is a set of 95 theses, organized and published as a call to action to all businesses operating in the Social Media Marketing era. Believe it or not – Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger wrote this manifesto in 1999. The aim of the manifesto is to explore the connections between businesses and consumers, and the impact of the Internet in providing novel and innovative communication channels between the two, and most importantly the ability to drastically transform traditional business practices.

Cluetrain Manifesto: The end of business as usual

As you could imagine, there is a lot of information integrated within the 95 theses, but they can be summed up with one paragraph:

“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.” A decade ahead of their time, these authors saw the power of the Internet.

Consumers could now obtain information at the blink of an eye, increasing their knowledge and shifting power from businesses to the customer. The amount of information on the Internet is endless, as every company is virtually transparent. Financial information, executive board members, even the name of the person who refills their vending machines are available online for everyone to see.

This is when businesses caught up with the phenomenon. Executives asked themselves, “How can we use this to our advantage?” Introduce Social Media Marketing. There are two main aspects of Social Media, the first, SMO (Social Media Optimization) refers to on-page techniques where a business can improve their website for the social media era. This includes providing links to services such as Digg, Reddit, and Del.icio.us, so information on their web pages can easily be shared with millions of others. Twitter has provided companies will unparalleled insight into consumers minds, and for many executives, it has paid off. Fred Zimny, Customer Contact, Service and Operations Management at Unive VGZ IZA Trias, Netherlands said, “One of my resolutions for 2009 was to act on Twitter. And up to now I do not have any regrets. In the contrary, great insights already gained from posts on Twitter. Twitter will shape our fundamental beliefs how to connect and collect”.

Not only will Twitter shape the fundamental beliefs how to connect and collect – social media will shape the way we do business.twitter_logo

The second aspect is deemed Social Media Marketing, and it is this is the process of building “fans” that are loyal of your brand, company or product. If a user of a social media platform, such as Facebook, is a fan of your brand, they will share it with all of their virtual friends, and anyone else paying attention. Think of it as virtual word of mouth, but much more effective. Businesses think of it as free advertising.

It is very important to realize what is NOT Social Media Marketing. Most people believe that Social Media Marketing refers to actual advertisements on social networks sites, but this could not be further from the truth. Social Media Marketing is about collaboration, about the discussion of trends, ideas, and hot topics.

gkBRAND’s advice to you? Embrace this new phenomenon. There is a tremendous amount of information, ideas; conversations taking place – RIGHT THIS SECOND. Find them and share your views. Social Media Marketing is not controlled by right or wrong answers; it is the birthplace of the most open-minded conversation since – ever. Take advantage of this, and enjoy!

– Dan Romanow

Daniel Romanow is the Group Director at gkBRAND

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